Days 52, 53, 54 – South Lake Tahoe Zero Days

Wingman from the Roadside:

52 – During coffee and breakfast in our trailer at the zoo (the campground) Runningbird decided she would just take the next few days one at a time. Her return to the trail seemed somewhat questionable at the time considering the previous days’ travel. While I doubt that there was any question, she didn’t want or need the pressure to get back on the trail anytime soon. There had been a lot of encouragement and positive feedback from friends, family, and on the blog from random supporters of what she is doing.

About 11 AM my long time friend Brian arrived at the campground and took us to do some shopping around South Lake. We went to Sports Ltd. and picked up new poles for Runningbird and went to visit Brian’s nephew Brad. After a short tour about town we returned to the trailer where we made more phone calls to family and discussed the situation. As you will read in Runningbird’s journal, she concluded that if she wanted to continue on the trail, she would need to make some drastic changes to her diet. Later in the evening Brian and Brad picked us up and we went out to Cantina Los Tres Hombres for dinner where we enjoyed socializing and some high calorie foods. It was a fun evening for all of us and helped kick the frustration and disappointment of the previous day.

53 – In the morning the reality of the situation hit home. If Runningbird was going to complete her challenge, and I have no doubt she will, then she would have to get to work on a new strategy. So we went shopping. We went to Grocery Outlet and Safeway and bought a variety of higher calorie foods and snacks to supplement her diet. She was on a mission and if eating this kind of diet for the next couple of months was what she had to do to keep hiking then she would do it. She read me a bit of an article written by a doctor living in an area near the PCT who had treated many PCT hikers along their journey. She said thru-hikers can’t just eat for health; they have to eat for fuel.

In the afternoon Runningbird’s long time Mountaineer friend Steve drove up to the Lake and met us for coffee at Starbucks. He was very supportive of her and how far she had already come and offered her more encouragement to keep on. I didn’t really hear all their conversation but as we walked back to the campground it seemed to me that either the caffeine had kicked in or she had her confidence back with even more determination.

Late in the afternoon we drove back over to Brad’s house where Runningbird was able to take a long, hot bath in a real bathtub. Brian had grilled up a beautiful salmon dinner, Runningbird shared stories of the trail, Brad shared with us how he ended up living in Lake Tahoe, and Brian and I shared stories of our younger and wilder days as roommates. I think these last couple of days off the trail were a break Runningbird really needed to rest and reevaluate what she has already accomplished. We returned to our quarters at the campground and Runningbird was fast asleep in minutes.

54 – This morning would be moving day for us. With new energy from a couple of days of good rest and refueling, Runningbird got to work on restoring her backpack with new fuel options and rigging it for the attack on her next trail sections. We secured the trailer for the move away from the zoo and over to Brad’s house for the next couple of days where it is much quieter and more peaceful. Brad and “Uncle Brian” have been great hosts and have provided us with an excellent opportunity to rest and rejuvenate and we’re grateful. In the afternoon we did a bit more shopping (individual packets of peanut butter, Pop-Tarts, crackers) and then Runningbird gave me a much needed haircut before going for a calming walk before getting back on the trail tomorrow morning. I think it will be pizza tonight!

Tahoe Valley Campground, like Tetra – squeeze ‘em in.

Peace and quiet at the Lodge Residence.

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